Kenneth Ziffren

Firm: Ziffren Brittenham Branca Fischer Gilbert-Lurie Stiffelman Cook Johnson Lande & Wolf LLP
Law School: UCLA School of Law
Clients: Starz Entertainment LLC, Stephen J. Cannell and Jay Leno


Kenneth Ziffren said he became a lawyer because of the "intellectual stimulation and fascinating business issues" involved.
In a legal career that spans more than 40 years, Ziffren has had a generous serving of both.


In 1993 and 1997, he represented the National Football League in its contract negotiations with the major TV networks regarding the rights to broadcast NFL games. Ziffren describes forging the multi-billion-dollar contracts, among the richest in the history of sports, as the most interesting matter he has worked on during his career.


But he said his most challenging case involved taking on the Federal Communication Commission from 1990 to 1993 over its Financial Interest/Syndication Rules referred to in the TV industry as "fyn-syn" which restricted the ability of networks to produce entertainment content.
"We were trying to modernize the old rules in a way that would have kept the networks from being able to condition access to their airwaves by insisting on the grant of either the right to produce, or the right to syndicate, the TV show or program in question," said Ziffren, who represented a group of independent producers.


The restrictions were eventually abolished by the FCC, which Ziffren sees as a mistake. "We suffer daily," he said. "There are no independent production companies supplying scripted dramas or sitcoms to network television anymore."


Ziffren's greatest career moment, he said, was leading a group of fellow UCLA Law School faculty and alumni in establishing an entertainment law program at the law school.


And if he weren't practicing law, Ziffren said "I'd be teaching at UCLA Law School full time and writing articles on entertainment and media law and practice."

Matthew T. Washington


Theodore Boutrous

Firm: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Wall Street Journal and NBC Universal Inc.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: My father was an attorney and his practice set a wonderful example that I have tried to follow.
Most Interesting Case: A lawsuit involving Dow Jones, in which we were able to persuade a court to overturn the largest libel verdict in history, $222 million. A mystery witness came forward and revealed that the plaintiff had destroyed crucial audiotape evidence.
Worst Career Moment: I learned that the California Supreme Court had refused our request for review of a $290 million punitive damage verdict.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I played trombone in a jazz band in college.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would want to be the top editor of a major newspaper or magazine.


Jay Cooper

Firm: Greenberg Traurig LLP
Clients: Sheryl Crow, Jerry Seinfeld and John Williams.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I went to law school while I was working as a musician and in music school. When I came to California and began working as a musician here, a number of my musician friends were constantly getting booked on drug possession. Since I was the only one they knew who had a law degree, I was asked to represent them.
Most Challenging Matter: The Live Earth project which involved my supervising all of the legal matters for eight concerts around the world.
Best Career Moment: My involvement in writing a repeal of an amendment to copyright law. The repeal legislation preserved for artists their right to recapture their authorship rights in recordings 35 years after granting those rights to the record company.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would probably still be a musician.


Bob Darwell

Firm: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Clients: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Focus Features and Disney ABC Cable Networks Group.
Most Interesting Matter: The financing arrangements on director Steven Soderbergh's films about Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
Most Challenging Matter: Representing Disney in connection with its separation from Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
My Colleagues Don't Know: Let's keep it that way.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be a disc jockey in Reykjavik.


Scott Edelman

Firm: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: General Electric Co., University of Southern California and CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: My dad is a lawyer and he was always my role model.
Most Interesting Case: Representing the estate of Carl Sagan in a case in which Francis Ford Coppola claimed that Sagan stole the basis for the book "Contact."
Most Challenging Case: When a general counsel turned on his former employer (my client) while on the stand.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I used to have a full head of hair.


Bonnie Eskenazi

Firm: Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman
& Machtinger LLP
Clients: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Renee Fleming and Hans Zimmer.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I find it fulfilling to be the voice for people who have a story to tell and rights to protect.
Most Interesting Case: Jeffrey Katzenberg vs. Walt Disney Co., in which the entertainment executive claimed he was owed money stemming from his tenure at the studio.
Most Challenging Case: Ross Bagdasarian vs. Universal Studios, which resulted in a return of all rights in "Alvin and the Chipmunks" to the Bagdasarian family.
Best Career Moment: Every time I win a trial or summary judgment motion, it becomes my new best career moment.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I am a coloratura soprano who sang and studied voice in New York.


Bert Fields

Firm: Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP
Clients: Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Dreamworks LLC
Reason I'm a Lawyer: That's where my skills lay and I love the process.
Most Interesting Matter: Apple vs. Leber, in which I represented the Beatles and won an injunction and damages against the producers of "Beatlemania."
Most Challenging Case: Clive Cussler v. Crusader, a three-and-one-half month jury trial.
Best Career Moment: Hearing a favorable verdict is pretty good.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I played high school football and was an amateur boxer.


John Frankenheimer

Firm: Loeb & Loeb LLP
Clients: Bertelsmann AG, Saban Capital Group Inc. and Frontline Management Inc.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: Love of advocacy and the intellectual challenge of law.
Most Interesting Matter: Negotiating the initial ring tone agreements in the U.S. with all the major music publishers, and structuring content licenses with all the major labels.
Best Career Moment: Co-chairing Loeb & Loeb for the past 10 years.


Marty Katz

Firm: Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Clients: Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Lockheed Corp.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I liked Perry Mason better than Marcus Welby, M.D. And high school debate sealed it for me.
Most Interesting Case: Wolf vs. Walt Disney Pictures and Television, which has already resulted in two published opinions, followed by a 16-week jury trial.
Most Challenging Matter: A battle between two entertainment powerhouses, but it was the subject of a confidential arbitration.
Best Career Moment: When the opposing expert broke down at trial and started screaming uncontrollably in front of the jury.
My Colleagues Don't Know: My favorite job other than practicing law was selling shoes.


Dale Kinsella

Firm: Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP
Clients: Nicole Kidman and David Letterman.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I enjoy jury trials.
Most Challenging Case: Jordache vs. Guess Jeans
Most Interesting Case: Mike Tyson vs. Don King
My Colleagues Don't Know: I'm relaxed and mild mannered.


Mickey Mayerson

Firm: Loeb & Loeb LLP
Clients: Citigroup Inc., GE Capital and Relativity Media LLC.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: At the time, there were few good business jobs on Wall Street.
Most Challenging Matter: Universal's output deal with HBO.
Best Career Moment: Becoming managing partner at Loeb & Loeb's Los Angeles office.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I listen to courses on tape on the way to work everyday.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I'd be fly-fishing.


L. Lee Phillips

Firm: Manatt Phelps and Phillips LLP
Clients: Barbra Streisand, the Eagles and
DIC Entertainment Corp.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I thought it was the best challenge for me personally to help people solve problems.
Most Interesting Case: There are several every year. Latest is the successful litigation involving Brian Wilson against Mike Love handled by my firm.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I can cook!


Kelli Sager

Firm: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Clients: The New York Times Co., Conde Nast Publications Inc.
and Paramount Pictures Corp.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I studied journalism, and decided to go to law school with the notion of specializing in legal commentary. I learned that there were "media law" attorneys and decided that's what I wanted to do.
Most Interesting Moment: Representing a consortium of media companies in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Best Career Moment: The first time I argued before the California Supreme Court.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I performed in musical theater when I was growing up, and was in community productions of "Oliver" and "Fiddler on the Roof."


Alan Schwartz

Firm: Greenberg Traurig LLP
Clients: Mel Brooks, Truman Capote Literary Trust
and Sylvester Stallone.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: My father was a lawyer.
Most Interesting Matter: Arranging the financing for Mel Brooks' movies and theatrical musicals.
Most Challenging Matter: Arranging for the publication of books by Alexander Solzhenitsyn while he was still in the Gulag.
Best Career Moment: Bringing Stalin's daughter to the United States after she defected from the Soviet Union as she was being sought by Soviet agents.
Worst Career Moment: Seeing Truman Capote in jail in Palm Springs.


Larry Stein

Firm: Dreier Stein & Kahan LLP
Clients: Marvel Entertainment Inc., Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.
and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Most Interesting Case: Wind Dancer Productions vs. Disney, which involved production and distribution issues between the two companies and led to a slew of many other cases involving my theory of vertical integration.
Best Career Moment: Being honored as Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the Pro Bono Civil Liberties Award by the ACLU in the same year, 2004.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I have a kinder, gentler side.


Lawrence Ulman

Firm: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: NBC Universal Inc., New Line Productions Inc. and Miramax Film Corp.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I like the process of advocacy and trying to negotiate the best deal possible for the client.
Most Interesting Matter: Negotiating the first film slate investment deal for Universal Pictures.
Most Challenging Matter: Representing Volkswagen in the first global alliance agreement with a major studio.
Best Career Moment: Being asked to teach entertainment finance at the USC Cinema School.


Howard Weitzman

Firm: Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP
Clients: Courtney Love, Sugar Ray Leonard and Ozzy Osbourne.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I like problem solving.
Best Career Moment: Successfully defending John DeLorean against charges of drug trafficking by the U.S. government.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be dead.

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